House, DPR Disagree over Oilfield Revocation, Awards

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Petitions and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) have expressed divergent views over Dawes Island marginal field lost by Eurafric for holding the national asset without production and making it unviable for seventeen years.

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) awarded the field to Petralon 54 Limited and its partners during the last bid round, a decision that was countered by Eurafric through a petition to the House Committee on Petition.

A statement explained that DPR had revoked the licences of 11 marginal field operators for non-performance, including Dawes island marginal field located in OPL2006, Okrika, Rivers State.

It stated that DPR justified the revocation of the field licence on the ground that, “Dawes Island marginal field was operated by Euroafric energy Limited for over 16yeats without significant progress to attain full production and failure to submit field development plan for the asset.”

According to the DPR Director, Mr. Sarki Auwalu, the decision was taken in the best interest of the nation.

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Petitions was, however, quoted in the statement to have reversed the DPR’s award of Dawes Island marginal field to Petralon 54 Limited and its partners, arguing that the action did not comply with the principles of equity and fair principles even when available information suggests that Eurafric had not financial or material investment in the assets development, leading to non-performance.

According to the committee, the three companies should benefit from any re-award of the asset, which it said should be restored to pre-revocation status in the interest of equity and national interest.

It alleged that there was an ulterior motive in re-awarding the licence to Petralon 54 alone, when abinitio, Eurafric and Tako, Petralon 54 were supposed to be punished for the same offence.

The immediate past Chairman, Society of Petroleum Engineers, Engr. Joe Nwakwe, said there was a clear distinction between regulation and governance, calling for caution in a bit not to send a wrong signal to investors because of interference with regulation.

“I have not seen the comment by the House of Reps, what I suspect is that they may be pointing the DPR attention to the Court case over the matter.

“But it is clear that the Petroleum Act gives the power to award and revoke oil blocks to the Minister of Petroleum Resources and that power has been delegated to the DPR in this matter,” he said.



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